By Corey Poole
Natchitoches Genealogical and Historical Association President Elvin Shields welcomed visitors to the NGHA’s Open House program June 4. After a recent move from the third floor to the first floor of the old Natchitoches Parish Courthouse on Second Street for asbestos abatement, Rev. Garland Smith blessed the association’s new space.
Mayor Lee Posey presented a proclamation declaring June 4 as Genealogical Day in the City.
The NGHA was organized in 1973 at the conclusion of the first class offered by Northwestern State University titled Library Science 406-Applied Genealogy Research. The association collects, preserves and provides genealogical and historical materials to the public to promote interest in research in these fields among visitors tracing their genealogies.
Shields will present honorary NGHA membership certificates to five inmates at the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center for their hard work moving the NGHA to its new home.
Light refreshments were provided and the Reasonable Facsimilie Band played music. Band members are Max Turner, Wayne Barber, Marcy Frantom and Ed Huey.
Unique to the Open House was the attendance of two NGHA volunteers. Sister Lacie Nelson and Sister Collette Barclay are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints in Utah.
The two missionaries arrived as part of a group of 180 church members on a Louisiana-Baton Rouge mission trip. While they’ve been in Louisiana serving in different communities for around 18 months now, they’ve been in Natchitoches for a few weeks.
NGHA First Vice President Marilyn Wood and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints in Natchitoches said the missionaries have changed during the course of their mission trip. There are also two Elders that volunteer at the NGHA on Wednesdays.
The missionaries organize books, help piece together family histories and do their own genealogy research.
“We do this important service work as a part of our mission because we enjoy helping others and the gratification that comes with it,” said Sis. Neilson.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been involved with genealogical research for over 100 years.
FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services each year to learn more about their family history.
To get started on your own research go online to familysearch.org or http://www.discoverfreedmen.org.